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Yemen's Saleh signs deal to leave power

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Yemen's Saleh signs deal to leave power
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Yemen’s Ali Abdullah Saleh on Wednesday agreed to stand down in an attempt to end months of protests against his 33-year rule. Saleh signed the deal in the Saudi capital, Riyadh.

He will now hand power to his deputy and is set to seek medical treatment in the United States.

It was the fourth attempt to strike the accord, which was brokered by six Gulf states.

Saleh backed out of three similar agreements at the last minute, enraging demonstrators and almost pushing his country to the brink of civil war.

Yemeni activists have been stepping up their calls for the 69-year-old to quit since January.

Under this deal, a new unity government will be formed and presidential elections held within three months. It also grants Saleh immunity from prosecution.

Rights groups accuse him of ordering the execution and torture of opposition figures over a number of years.